British Minister of State for the Middle East, Lord Tariq Ahmed, said that cooperation between Britain and Saudi Arabia is “a fundamental pillar in confronting the threat of international terrorism,” and he expected that the talks between the Yemeni parties under the auspices of the United Nations would lead to a settlement that would end the conflict.
“We are facing rapidly evolving threats from groups affiliated with ISIS,” he said in an interview with Al-Sharq Al-Awsat newspaper on the sidelines of his recent participation in the conference of the International Coalition to Combat Terrorism in Riyadh.
“The UK and Saudi Arabia play a huge role in this coalition, working to ensure the enduring defeat of Daesh, together with international partners, and that cooperation provides the basis on which we can jointly tackle the threat of international terrorism,” he added.
Lord Ahmed stressed the need for joint international action to “confront global terrorism,” stressing “the pivotal role of Saudi Arabia in enhancing aviation security, defensive cyber security, and combating terrorism and extremism.”
With regard to the conflict in Sudan, the British minister said that his country is working within a new group led by the African Union to bring the parties to the conflict back to the negotiating table, adding, “The United Kingdom supports efforts to agree on a new ceasefire, with the aim of reaching a permanent cessation of hostilities.”
Lord Ahmed stressed the need to stop the war in Sudan, and called on the army forces and the Rapid Support Forces to “commit to the outcomes of the Jeddah negotiating platform.”
Yemen and Syria issues
On the Yemeni situation, Lord Ahmed said, “The current discussions between our Saudi and Houthi partners are a decisive step towards peace in Yemen.”
“It is imperative that threats to oil infrastructure, traders and shipping companies stop… We expect that the talks between the Yemeni parties, under the auspices of the United Nations, will lead to a settlement that allows for a sustainable end to the conflict,” he added, noting that the UK will continue to work with the UN special envoy and allies. regional countries, including Saudi Arabia, to support these efforts.
“A political settlement is the only way to achieve long-term stability in Yemen and address the humanitarian crisis,” he said.
Commenting on Syria’s return to the Arab League, the British Minister of State said, “We do not support Syria’s return to the Arab League, and Arab engagement with Syria in the future must be conditional on fundamental changes on the part of President Bashar al-Assad.”
“Syria must participate in the United Nations political process, which remains the only way to achieve a lasting and sustainable peace in Syria,” he added.
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